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 The Nature of sin - WHAT IS SIN????

This is an attempt to update an old article.

I am OPEN to ALL input. I think it is very important that we all know what sin is.







CHAPTER FOUR.

THE NATURE OF SIN.

God created the human race so He could share His life and love with them, so that He could have a relationship with them, and love and bless them. We were created for union with God and He made us in His image and in His likeness, uniquely fitted to interact with Him in love. This is the meaning of our existence, to live by the life of God enjoying the privilege of being His children. We are unique in our creation; we were created with the ability to commune with God in our in a body of flesh made from the dust of the earth. We were created to live in and respond to God in love.

God created human beings with a free will because He desired to share His love with free beings that could partake of His life and join Him in His unspeakable joy. He did not create us out of a some need within Himself for company. He is the infinitely fulfilled One. He created us because wanted to share His love with us. He loves you because He loved you into existence.

God created every one of us as moral beings, with a free will, the ability to choose Him or reject Him. Love must exist by choice alone. Love cannot be forced or legislated. Robots can not love! God created mankind, with no necessity within Himself and no pressure from without to bring about another creature with free will. He freely chose to create us with free will. Al of us have the God given ability to say yes or no to Him.

Man was not designed to live independent of God. God's intent was to rule in the heart of man, for man's good, and for His own enjoyment. Man needs God, and was to live in (and enjoy!) total submission to Him. God is no 'tyrant', His demand for our submission is for our good.

In order for mankind to make the deliberate choice to believe God, to love Him and walk in His love, He made a tree called, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and He placed it into the Garden. Remember, without the choice of at least two things, love, obedience, holiness and sin cannot exist.

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:16,17)

The response of the Adam and Eve to the tree would either be one of obedience, which would develop into trust and love toward God. Or they would make the choice of disobedience; unbelief that rejected God and His love and the result of such a declaration of independence from God would be death. Adam and Eve lived in fellowship with God until they chose to rebel by eating the forbidden fruit. God had designed them so they would rely and trust Him for all wisdom and knowledge.

Adam and Eve had everything they could possibly need. God provided them with everything as a free gift. Since they were created, every breath they took they were reminded that they were not God but dependent on Him. The meaning of their life was to be submitted to their Creator. It was at that point that the devil came to tempt them. He tempted Eve with the lie that she could like God. The heart of sin is the desire to be king and ruler of ones own life. To be independent of God and to dethrone Him and take His place. Sin in its ultimate desire wills to remove God, kill him if it could and crown oneself in God's place.

Satan began tempting Eve by portraying God as a liar that could not to be trusted. He inferred that God did not really love her because He did not have her best interests in mind. Satan made it look like God was withholding something good from her. He then told Eve that in eating from the tree she could declare her independence from God and she could like God. He assured her that God had lied; eating from the tree would not bring death but was instead the doorway to her total self-directed freedom.

"Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food, pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom, so she took it and ate it. She gave some to Adam and then he also ate it" (Genesis 3:4,6)

Instead of trusting and having her confidence in God, Eve believed the serpent and made the choice to disobey and declare her independence from God. In this act of defiance towards God, she severed herself from God, who was the only source of her life and the meaning of her existence. This was not just a slip or fall but an act of total rebellion! Both Adam and Eve rebelled in an act of disobedience that declared independence from Him. By rebelling they disconnected themselves from God who was the only true source of life and plunged themselves into death.

They were created to say yes to God and choose to trust His love. Instead they have said no to God and yes to the lie of Satan and in so doing become the enemies of God. They have denied the meaning of their existence as creatures and rejected their God given glory of submission and obedience to the Creator. They have said no to the covenant union with Him, for whom they were created, exchanging it for the dead end street of independence that results in death.

When God said "In the day you eat of it you shall surely die" this was not just a punishment, but the announcement of a fact. You are dependent upon God for your life, you are created to live in His love and if you walk away from Him, a law will be triggered that cannot be reversed - you will certainly and unquestionably die.

Adam and Eve died in the moment they ate of the tree. God is Life and the source and upholder of all life, no life exists outside of Him, and nothing is independent of Him. When Adam and Eve ate this fruit they turned away from God's rulership. The life-sustaining relationship with God was broken. They cut themselves off from God and His wisdom, blessings, life, power, love and light. They decided to live for self, and for the purpose of self-gratification, rather than for fellowship with, and in obedience to, God. They kicked God out of His rightful place on the throne of the heart and replaced Him with self.

All of us have sinned in same way. Each of us have turned away from God and to our self. We have placed ourselves above God and our fellow man. In doing so, we become the voluntary but real slave of lust, appetite and desires. We freely choose it and that is why we are totally responsible for it and why God can justly send us to hell.

Adam and Eve's spirit did not die, nor was it annihilated when they sinned. Adam and Eve died to God and became alive to self. Instead of receiving only what God had to offer, they received only what selfishness could offer. Sinners are dead in trespasses and sins but their spirit is still alive. Our spirit is like a phone that is discontented from the true source. The phone itself is not dead but the fact that is disconnected makes it defective. We have all rebelled and have discontented our spirit from the only true source. Now instead our spirit is contented to our own selves as are source of life.

After we sin, we do not lose the ability to choose, we still have a free will. We all have the free choice to decide to believe and submit to God or reject Him. There must be a free choice of at least two things for sin or holiness to exist. This choice must be voluntarily made. Without a choice and the freedom to make it, good and evil could not exist.

The two choices are:

1. The choice to believe in and submit totally to God, to rule and rein over us.
2. The choice to rebel and be independent of God, for self to rule and rein over us.

A person is either led (controlled) by the flesh or led by the Spirit. If led by the flesh, he is living to gratify his senses. His will is in submission to his own selfish desires. If led by the Spirit, he is living with his will in submission to God. No other choice exists nor can both choices coexist because they completely oppose each other.

The two aspects of sin are:
1. The choice to live supremely for oneself.
2. The refusal and unwillingness to let go of selfishness and turn to God.

A sinner is a criminal and a rebel because he can let go of his selfishness and self-serving and turn to God, but refuses to do so. Selfishness is the root, the trunk, and the branches of all the destructive evil and sin of man's rebellious state. Self-esteem, self-love, and self-seeking are the very essence and life of pride. Pride rules in the heart of man and daily worships the idol of self.

Man's ego, pride, and selfishness raises up in his heart and self exalts itself above God. Pride takes over God's place in His temple. Self shows and declares himself to be God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that is already at work in the hearts of all sinful men. The sinner's self-exaltation is the ruling power of his life and the cause of all sin.

Many think that everyone is born sinful or with a sinful nature and this is the source and cause for all sin. This is false. A sinner does have a sin nature but this is the direct consequence of his own free choices. A sin nature consists in habit patterns formed by the sinner living for himself and not for God. All sin is a wrong choice freely made. A sin nature is the result of sin, not the cause of it.

Each sinner has a carnal mind and walks after the flesh. The carnal mind is the choice to live entirely for oneself. This choice shuts out God's life, presence and control. It is a state of complete rebellion against God and His character. The carnal mind is a total enemy of God. It hates God and is totally hostile to Him. The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be. Obedience is impossible in this state. When a person chooses to have self as king instead of God in his heart, he violates God's original design and purpose. He decides to pursue and to gratify self. The carnal mind is not the mind itself, but a voluntary choice and preference of the mind. It is not a part of man's body, soul or spirit.

No one is born with a carnal mind or a sin nature. This enmity against God is not transferred from father to son. It is impossible for a voluntary state of mind to pass from one generation to the next. Sin is the direct result of the free choice to live entirely for the gratification of his desires, lusts, emotions, and feelings.

This desire and pursuit becomes the law of his life. The Apostle Paul calls it the law in one's members that wars against the law of the mind. Romans 7:23 "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."

The reason behind the choice to indulge a desire makes it right or wrong. God made man with desires. They will bring joy if used rightly. They will bring destruction if used wrongly. Desires, feelings and emotions have no moral character in themselves. Indulging them in an unlawful way or for the purpose to please oneself supremely is sin. The choice to make self-gratification the goal of life is the whole of sin."

The dominion of any desire, lust, emotion or feeling over the will is called minding the flesh. Romans 8:5 "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit."

The Bible says that sin is the transgression of the law and we sin when each of us turn to his own way. It also says that if we love God supremely and others as ourselves we fulfill the law.

Isa. 53:6a "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way."

I John 3:4 "Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."

Matt. 22:36-46 "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Romans 13:8-10 "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

Sin is supreme selfishness. It is the choice of self-gratification and self-indulgence in direct opposition to one's own reason. Sin is the choice to live supremely to please oneself disregarding God's higher and more important interests, the greater good of all moral beings, and one's own reason. Sin is the wrong aim or intention of the heart.

It is the heart of man aimed at and intending to get personal pleasure and satisfaction at all cost. Sin puts self with its pleasure first. We sin when we consent to gratify a desire that violates God's law, to bring ourselves pleasure. All sin is the misuse of our own natural resources.

It is for self gratification and self pleasure that the sinner lives, moves and has his being. His entire purpose in life is seeking after his own pleasure. He fulfills all acts for only one reason: to promote his own gratification. He regards nothing else worthy of choice except as it applies to self for self-gratification.

The sinner demands his own rights to such a degree that they are more important to him than all other interests, including God's. He is the king of his own realm and wants, He wants God and all other interests to bow to him. He makes himself a god and tramples underfoot the law of God and his own reason and intelligence. He becomes lawless and full of iniquity. He becomes the voluntary but real slave of lust, appetite and desire.

Sin is a voluntary committal of the will in a state of seeking its own gratification and using all the methods it can to achieve this goal. The sinner is the king or ruler of his own realm.

Here is a list of things sin is not.

1. Not just a slip.
2. Not just a mistake.
3. Not unavoidable nor accidental.
4. Not a sickness nor disease.
5. Not ‘only human’.
6. Not something we inherit from Adam or our parents.
7. Not a part of any person's soul, spirit or body.
8. Not something we are forced to do.
9. Not something in which we are helpless victims.
10. Not something that is natural or normal.

Sin is completely unreasonable and a crime worthy of eternal punishment. Sin is the intent to live supremely for oneself at all cost. It is a premeditated, calculated, voluntary, choice to live contrary to God's original design. No one is born a sinner. There can never be any excuse for sin. Sin is original because each sinner creates it. Sin is a crime and sinners are rebels and not a subject of pity or sympathy. Sinners truly deserve the punishment of hell for their crimes because they are monsters of iniquity.

I recommend the reading of the following books for those of you who wish to study more in detail about sin and why we are not born sinners.

1. FINNEY'S SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, by Charles Finney. Bethany Fellowship.
2. YOUTH AFLAME, by Winkie Pratney. Bethany Fellowship.
3. THE GOD THEY NEVER KNEW, by George Otis Jr. Mott Media.
4. DON'T BLAME IT ALL ON ADAM, by J.W. Jepson. Bethany Fellowship.
5. ARE MEN BORN SINNERS? THE MYTH OF ORIGINAL SIN, by Alferd T. Overstreet.

Study questions.

1. What was man designed to be by God?
2. Did Adam's spirit die when he sinned? Why?
3. What happened to Adam when he sinned?
4. Explain how we have all sinned.
5. What must always be present for sin and holiness to exist?
6. What are the two choices we have?
7. How is a person led by the flesh?
8. How is a person led by the Spirit?
9. What are the two aspects of sin?
10. Why is a sinner a criminal and guilty of hell?
11. Explain how the spirit of antichrist is at work in the hearts of all sinners.
12. What is a carnal mind? How does a person get one?
13. What is a sin nature and how does a person get one?
14. What does the law require?
15. What is sin?
16. From where does sin come?
17. Can a sinner turn to God and stop sinning? Why?
18. What does a sinner live for supremely? Why?
19. If you sin, explain why.
20. Are we born sinners? Why?




 2005/2/20 12:05
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re: The Nature of sin - WHAT IS SIN????

Paul wrote: Romans 7:

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

Paul states that man does not know how to obey the laws of God. God has given to man His law, yet man does not have within himself the capacity to fulfill the law. To fulfill the righteous requirements of the law one must look to the guidance of the Spirit. The law is spiritual so righteousness can only come from the leading of the Spirit.

Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Only those who walk by the Spirit can fulfill the righteous requirements of God's law.

So the nature of sin can be simply understood by the definition of sin. Sin means "to miss the mark." Man cannot aim at the target because he cannot see the target. It is the work of the Spirit that opens the eyes of the blind. It is the work of the Spirit that opens the ears of the deaf.

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2005/2/21 13:25Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
Jeff writes:
Man cannot aim at the target because he cannot see the target.


This is still as inaccurate as when you said it the first time! ;-) It is not because of ignorance that man sins but because of choice. God holds us responsible for what we know or, at times, what we should know. (have ye not read?)

There's an old story of a conversation about the more obscure points in the bible. Mark Twain, who was one of the people conversing said; 'it is not what I don't understand in the Bible that has me worried'


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2005/2/21 14:33Profile









 The heart of sin is the desire to be king and ruler of ones own life.

The heart of sin is the desire to be king and ruler of ones own life. To be independent of God and to dethrone Him and take His place. Sin in its ultimate desire wills to remove God, kill him if it could and crown oneself in God's place.

 2005/2/21 15:13
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: direct hit!

freecd
I think you hit the nail right on the head! Did you notice that your words provide an equally accurate definition of the being that we know as Satan? I'm sure you did! This in its turn begins to explain the phrase in Rom 5:12 'by one man Sin entered...' Sin is older than the human race, but it (he) entered our race through Adam's disobedience.


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Ron Bailey

 2005/2/21 15:56Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Br. Ron wrote:

Quote:
This is still as inaccurate as when you said it the first time! It is not because of ignorance that man sins but because of choice. God holds us responsible for what we know or, at times, what we should know. (have ye not read?)



Satan does represent the manifestation of sin, we enthrone ourselves in total rebellion. Much of this world can be seen to have the fruits of Satan work. But these are the outward signs of what is missing in anyone's life. Adam and Eve knew God, they were perfect. Yet they made a choice to rebell. That was their sin. And then the nature of their offspring changed did it not. Adam and Eve were created on God's image. Their offspring were created in Adams image. What was missing? They saw that they were naked.

God often speaks of spiritual nakedness in the Scriptures. What does that mean?

Job 38:36 Who has put wisdom in the mind?
Or who has given understanding to the heart?

Psa. 14:2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.

Psa. 19:12 Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.

Psa. 119:27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.

Psa. 119:34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Psa. 119:73 Your hands have made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.

Psa. 119:144 The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting;
Give me understanding, and I shall live.

Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;

Prov. 6:32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;
He who does so destroys his own soul.

Prov. 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Prov. 10:13 Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.

Is. 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

Jer. 3:15 And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Jer. 4:22 “For My people are foolish,
They have not known Me.
They are silly children,
And they have no understanding.
They are wise to do evil,
But to do good they have no knowledge.”

Matt. 13:13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
“Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’

It is only by God opening our ears and minds to His words that enable us to know Him. Without Him man will always miss the mark. He is subjected to futility. The Scriptures are the way to know "THE LIFE." It is the "LIFE" that saves. It is the "LIFE" that removes sin. The "LIFE" is the light of life.

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2005/2/22 12:15Profile
dann
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Joined: 2005/2/16
Posts: 239
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

 Re: The Nature of sin - WHAT IS SIN????

Hi.

You mentioned,

Quote:
Remember, without the choice of at least two things, love, obedience, holiness and sin cannot exist.



I think if we consider for a moment that God has always been Holy and has always been Love – even before sin entered into creation – we will begin to see that we can’t contrast these against obedience and sin in the way you have, since the contrast itself is proven invalid by the pre-existence of God in a state which by definition denies the contrast you have made.

Quote:
A sinner does have a sin nature but this is the direct consequence of his own free choices.



The Catholics teach that Adam’s sin is transferred to his progeny through procreation – that is, you inherit Adam’s sin from your parents. This is why the heretical doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception” was formulated. Catholic apologists/theologians reasoned that if sin was in fact being transferred from parent to child, that Jesus would have naturally inherited Adam’s sin through His mother Mary. To explain this, rather than build a better apologetic for what original sin is – they instead introduced the idea that Mary was born and lived without sin. This act of grace was a special, one-timer – allowed only so that Jesus Christ could be born without inheriting Adam’s sin through Mary.

The Catholics comprehended that if original sin were passed from parent to child – that Jesus would have inherited Adam’s nature through Mary.

I believe that the Catholics were mistaken about how the ‘sin nature’ is inherited.

Perhaps a better model would help to explain.

Consider an act of mutiny on the high seas. Suppose a couple were on an ocean faring vessel, and committed an act of mutiny. The captain finds them guilty and sentences them to banishment on a deserted isle. They are dropped off on the isle, and left to their own. They mate, and have children. The children ‘inherit’ their parents banishment.

In the same way we have ‘inherited’ the curse God pronounced upon Adam. Like the progeny of stranded mutineers, we too are exiles – banished, not from society, but from the tree of life. To be cut off from the tree of life is spiritual death – and it is this state of being spiritually dead that we have inherited.

This inheritance hasn’t come to us by our own free choice – rather, in a very real way, we have ‘inherited’ it – not physically through our parents – but indirectly through the penalty for Adam’s offense.

We sin because we have no life in us. It isn’t that our life is taken away the moment we sin – it is that we never had life in the first place – we are cut off from God “from the get go.” It isn’t appropriate then to say we become sinners by sinning – it is more appropriate to say that we are born absolutely void of spiritual life, into a world system that has been carefully cultured by the “god of this world (Satan)” to produce sin in those who life in it – and having no inclination otherwise – we immediately and inevitably embrace sin the first chance we get.

We already bear the punishment for Adam’s sin – spiritual death; or described practically – we are born with ‘the carnal mind’ – a mind which has nothing spiritual about it. Scripture teaches us that the natural man hates God, cannot understand or obey God, and certainly doesn’t come to God on its own. Scripture tells us plainly that God chooses us personally, and that unless He does, we will not come to Him. When a person disobeys God they are fully culpable for that decision – but we can not say that the sinner’s spiritual inability came to him through personal choice (which is what you are suggesting) – That ‘nature’ was entirely inherited as part of the penalty for Adam’s sin.

Dan


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Daniel van de Laar

 2005/2/22 14:26Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Br. Dan wrote:

Quote:
We already bear the punishment for Adam’s sin – spiritual death; or described practically – we are born with ‘the carnal mind’ – a mind which has nothing spiritual about it. Scripture teaches us that the natural man hates God, cannot understand or obey God, and certainly doesn’t come to God on its own. Scripture tells us plainly that God chooses us personally, and that unless He does, we will not come to Him. When a person disobeys God they are fully culpable for that decision – but we can not say that the sinner’s spiritual inability came to him through personal choice (which is what you are suggesting) – That ‘nature’ was entirely inherited as part of the penalty for Adam’s sin.



Thankyou for your clarity of thought. Only God can bring the "light of life," into a dead man walking.

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2005/2/22 15:27Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
It is only by God opening our ears and minds to His words that enable us to know Him. Without Him man will always miss the mark. He is subjected to futility. The Scriptures are the way to know "THE LIFE." It is the "LIFE" that saves. It is the "LIFE" that removes sin. The "LIFE" is the light of life.


This is all true, but sin is not the consequence of man not seeing the target. If that were so all we would need would be LIGHT, but the quotation above puts the emphasis in the right place; what man needs to be able to please God, is LIFE not LIGHT.

LIGHT will bring conviction of sin, but LIFE will bring freedom from it.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2005/2/23 6:52Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: The Nature of sin - WHAT IS SIN????

freecd

Quote:
Many think that everyone is born sinful or with a sinful nature and this is the source and cause for all sin. This is false. A sinner does have a sin nature but this is the direct consequence of his own free choices. A sin nature consists in habit patterns formed by the sinner living for himself and not for God. All sin is a wrong choice freely made. A sin nature is the result of sin, not the cause of it.



This is the teaching of Finney and others but I think it is serious error. There is an older thread Original Sin that spent quite a time on this topic. Don't take any notice of Jake's nonsense, but much of the remainder will repay your reading.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2005/2/23 7:01Profile





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